Here’s something Nationals fans don’t want to hear.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said after tonight’s game that Stephen Strasburg is currently dealing with right forearm tightness. Strasburg allowed two runs on six hits and four walks over six innings tonight as part of a no-decision in a 3-2 loss to the Braves.
Of course, Strasburg underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2010 and missed nearly one year of action. The Nationals infamously shut him down last year after 159 1/3 innings in his first full season back from surgery. While the shutdown was aimed at keeping him healthy for the long-term, there was no way to know whether the team’s approach would prove successful. Mike Rizzo and company are crossing their fingers right now.
Strasburg is currently being examined by a doctor while Johnson said that it’s too soon to say whether he’ll be available for his next scheduled start. However, given his previous Tommy John surgery and his importance to the rotation, one would think that he would get a bit of a break even if the issue is deemed minor. The Nationals could use Zach Duke for a spot-start.
UPDATE: Stephen Strasburg told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that his arm feels fine and that he will not miss a start. While it’s nice to hear that he’s upbeat about the situation, the Nationals may have other plans.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.